May 20, 2023; Spades at the Edisto 60

Took advantage of nice conditions and headed out for a day at the local reefs.

First stop was the Edisto 40. What started a month ago with one or two sharpnose sharks has now -forgive me - jumped the shark. If you like catching pinfish and sharks, pin that throttle and head to the 40, you will think you died and went to heaven.

In addition to Mr. Sharpnose, some good size black tips are prowling around, and you will throw your back out muscling them to the boat. There were some undersize snapper, some rock bass and a few BSBs, but bottom fishing right now at the 40 means pinfish, grunts and Atlantic Sharpnose.

Having had enough of that, we headed to the 60 about an hour before low tide, and quickly saw several schools of spadefish. We threw popping corks with whole squid out and after losing one, my buddy brought a 20 inch monster into the boat. We also caught ringtail porgies, some large pinfish and of course, BSBs. I was nearly spooled by a large shark I never saw before he busted my line and disappeared.

Didnt have a chance to fish the beach for whiting, but will post a report the next time I go out


What a pretty ocean, and the smile above that spadefish says it all.

Good stuff, thanks for the report

Sounds like y’all had a pretty busy day. Looks like perfect conditions.

Nice Spade!
Thank you for the report and pictures!

If you don’t mind, I’d like to add a little info. for those interested in catching those Spadefish?

Spadefish will congregate on our nearshore reefs, and live bottom areas, from now until the cooler temps push them away, in the fall.

The same schools tend to stay on the same structure, throughout that time. They just become “gun shy” and harder to catch.

You certainly don’t need a whole squid for bait. A small piece of shrimp, squid, or jelly ball will suffice.

A small “gold” hook is the choice, when targeting Spades. Yes. I said “gold” hook! You’ll be surprised at your improvement on hookups, and sure, you’ll lose a few fish along the way. Just try it!

Also try putting two or three jelly balls on a coat hanger, and lowering them down to the structure. when your rod tip starts bouncing, reel them up, slowly.

The whole school of Spades will come up with your jelly balls. Making them easier to pitch to.

When you hook a Spadefish, keep it on the line, next to the boat. It keeps the rest of the school around, and interested in feeding.

Give it a try next time out!

We found about 15 on one of the channel markers last weekend. I hooked 3 and lost 3 after they beelined straight for the cable. Oh well! They didn’t want my grocery store shrimp but we netted a couple jelly balls on the way out.

Just to add to the post above. Spades make excellent table fare, but only fresh. The meat doesn’t hold up well to freezing and I see a whole lot of fish getting retained when ppl are on them. One good size fish will feed 4, and they will keep in the fridge a good week after cleaning. Ask yourself, am I gonna eat 12 spades fresh? Like all our fisheries, spades are not a limitless resource. It’s okay to keep a few and just enjoy catching them - and letting them go!

Thats a great point Optiker.

Spades provide a whole lot of meat, and while they are above average table fare, they dont keep well, and its a shame not to release them if you arent planning on eating them right away.

Thanks for clearing that up guys.

In the interest of Conservation, I surely should’ve mentioned that point!

Some good info here.

Our Ocean’s and tidal creeks could use more like you.